The 2022 Dakar Rally enters its final stretch with the frontrunners positioning themselves before the final showdown. Today, most riders opted for a tactical strategy rather than leaving anything to chance in tomorrow’s decisive stage in Bisha. For the Monster Energy Honda Team, Quintanilla moves onto the rally’s virtual final podium, while Joan Barreda finished third on the stage.
With just two days left to run, competitors were looking to play their best hand on stage ten – for the most part a fast-paced, navigation-filled route including 375 kilometres against the clock. The high number of parallel tracks made it a tough task for some of the riders who were forced to make split-second decisions about which paths to follow. A total of 759 kilometres were completed from Wadi Ad-Dawasir to Bisha including the special stage and liaison sections. Fortunately, all four Monster Energy Honda Team riders aboard their Honda CRF450 Rally bikes, made it back, problem-free, to the final bivouac of the Dakar 2022.
Monster Energy Honda Team’s Spanish rider Joan Barreda set a fine pace today and, despite a minor mistake that forced him to have to retrace several kilometres, posted third. However, a subsequent penalty of 2 minutes for speeding in a transfer zone left him fifth in the overall standings, 8’47 behind the leader.
Pablo Quintanilla, tenth on the day, moved up into second place in the overall rally standings with two days left before the rally ends in Jeddah. The Chilean carved out notable times throughout the stage, pulling ahead at the start, before eventually dropping seven minutes to the day’s winner. Tomorrow, on the Bisha loop, his goal will be to finish as far ahead as possible. In the general standings, the rider from Viña del Mar, who received a 1 minute penalty as team-mate Barreda, holds second, 5’15 behind the leader.
Ricky Brabec and José Ignacio ‘Nacho’ Cornejo had the tough task of opening the track today. The pair led for most of the day, only shedding time towards the end of the special. In the overall rankings, both riders are in the top ten, but with over 38 minutes separating them from the 2022 Dakar leaders.
Tomorrow will undoubtedly be one of the most interesting special stages of recent years, where several riders will make their bids for a final podium place in Jeddah the day after tomorrow. The battle will be epic. The loop to the Bisha bivouac will feature a total of 346 kilometres of timed section out of the 501-kilometre total stage with 155 kilometres of liaison sections. Large helpings of sand and dunes will be present on the menu of this, the most decisive stage of the Dakar 2022.